Directed by Gordon Hessler
Starring Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Alister Williamson.
This was the first film to star both Price and Lee.
The Oblong Box explores and combines several Edgar Allan Poe themes, such as premature burial and masked figures, combined with new elements, including voo-doo rituals/killings.
Synopsis from IMDb: Aristocrat Julian Markham keeps his disfigured brother, Sir Edward, locked in a tower of his house. Sir Edward occasionally escapes and causes havoc around the town.
There are also problematic flashbacks related to the time the brothers spent on their plantation in Africa, and how one incident with their slaves and a case of mistaken identity led to a voodoo ritual that would change both brothers' lives forever.
Christopher Wicking was bought in to do some additional dialogue. He says AIP were keen to put the film into production to take advantage of Witchfinders success and that they had also promised him When the Sleeper Wakes and a film about Christ coming to the modern day. Wicking says Oblong Box "was the carrot".
However, Reeves fell ill during pre-production, so Hessler stepped in and made a number of substantial changes.
Some fun tidbits of trivia from IMDb:
- The Oblong Box is set in 1865.
- This film was banned in Texas during its theatrical release.
Michael Reeves (who had just worked on Witchfinder General with Vincent Price, Rupert Davies and Hilary Dwyer) was originally chosen to direct this movie, but was replaced by Gordon Hessler during pre-production. Shooting began November 18, and was completed in December, two months before Reeves died in February 1969.
Alister Williamson was dubbed.
- This was originally supposed to film in Dublin, Ireland.
- The moments of extreme violence in this film had to be toned down in order to avoid an R rating.
- Lawrence Huntington, who had written the original draft of the screenplay, died just eleven days into the production of the movie.
- The first draft of the script was called "Man in the Crimson Hood."
- Gordon Hessler had only two days of prep time before shooting began on the film.
- The lead character of Julian Markham (played by Vincent Price) was in his early thirties in initial drafts of the script.
- Despite Vincent Price and Christopher Lee having top billing, they have only one scene together.